Saturday, 18 April 2015

New Architecture: Japan's Silver Mountain and Red Cliff Tower

The shimmering free form of the Silver Mountain building is a foil to the rectilinear block of the adjoining mosaic-tiled Red Cliff tower.

Japanese architect Kunihide Oshinomi has designed a glimmering, anthropomorphic building like a futuristic sea anenome at the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Kawasaki prefecture, Ambrosio De Lauro reports with Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Atsushi Nakamichi

CALLED Silver Mountain, the building is at the heart of a small complex and is clad in gleaming stainless-steel plates. The neat block of an adjoining red, mosaic-tiled tower provides a rectilinear foil to the silvery, amorphous form. Oshinomi’s firm K/O Design Studio with Kajima Design created the new buildings which house rehearsal halls along with offices and faculty and student lounges.

“Designed at the pivotal point of traffic of the college of music's campus, the new buildings have a powerful outline of form and contrasts of silver and red," says Oshinomi. “I looked back to the basic principles of architecture ~ form, space, material and colour."

Oshinomi is head of K/O Design Studio and visiting professor at both the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Yokohama National University's Graduate School. He established his architectural design company in 1993 and has worked on a wide range of design projects from skyscrapers to houses and from furniture to fashion. "We believe that architecture is only a small part of the human environment and we don't think architecture should be treated as a special factor from a design point of view,'' says Oshinomi. "We like to design surroundings that create a sophisticated environmental harmony."

Completed in August 2013, the design of the Silver Mountain building's stainless-steel plate cladding was originally worked out using computer simulation. The pattern was developed using 3D surface analysis to work out the best combination of standard rectilinear tiles plus curved and trapezoidal panels that were used for irregularly-shaped spaces. The adjacent Red Cliff tower block is finished in a graphic, patch-work of three different tones of red, mosaic tiles.

An airy, glass space connects the low-rise red tower to the globular silver building. "The cloud of glass is like a valley between the 'mountain' and the 'cliff', says Oshinomi. "It is one of the main pedestrian routes for this campus." Opening from three, curving foyers are the rehearsal halls which are located on different levels. The undulating concrete walls of the rehearsal spaces are designed to enhance their acoustic qualities. "The interior of Silver Mountain has a 3D free form and the lobby is like dramatic cave," says Oshinomo. "The rehearsal halls are flanked by exposed concrete-waved walls to stop echoes."

The Red Cliff building houses a faculty lounge on the ground floor furnished with mid-century modern armchairs, a meeting room, and a lounge area for students. Above are four floors containing the offices of the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music offices.


Click on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Lit up at night, the shimmering buildings look like they are glowing sea creatures.

The silvery, free-form building is clad in specially-designed stainless-steel panels and is offset by the rustic stone paving that follows the pattern of an Italian medieval village. 
The curving, reflective surface reflects the blue sky of a sunny day in Kawasaki prefecture.

The scale of each building appears to change dramatically depending on where it is viewed. 

The tower is clad in different tones of red mosaic tiles and is connected by a "cloud" of glass that the designer says forms a valley between the "Red Cliff" and the "Silver Mountain."


Built from reinforced concrete, the interior of the building has sweeping curved walls.



The interior of the buildings are left clear and uncluttered with specially-designed seating.

The undulating concrete walls of the rehearsal spaces were designed to enhance their acoustic qualities. 
"The rehearsal halls are flanked by exposed concrete-waved walls to stop echoes,"  explains designer Kunihide Oshinomi. 

Honey-coloured wood floors contrast with the raw concrete walls of the three different rehearsal halls.

Opening from the glass "valley" are curving foyers leading to the rehearsal halls which are located on different levels.


The Red Cliff tower block is finished in a graphic, patch-work of three different tones of red, mosaic tiles. 

The Red Cliff building houses a faculty lounge on the ground floor furnished with mid-century modern armchairs, a meeting room and a lounge area for students.









The design of the Silver Mountain building's stainless-steel plate cladding was originally worked out using computer simulation. The pattern was developed using 3D surface analysis to work out the best combination of standard rectilinear tiles plus curved and trapezoidal panels.

Computer models of the Silver Mountain building's curvature.


The first floor plan of the complex showing the rehearsal room, curving foyer  and the glass-roofed "cloud" connecting the building to the red-tiled office block.


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